Health Benefits of Viparita Karani (Legs Up the Wall Pose)

  • Posted: February 7, 2011

Also known as Inverted Lake, this mild inversion is known for a wide range of health benefits as well as its anti-aging effects. Old Hindu scriptures claim that Viparita Karani hides wrinkles in addition to banishing old age and death.

The restorative nature of this posture gets blood flowing to parts of the body that need it, making it good for most any ailment including arthritis, high or low blood pressure, respiratory ailments, and menopause. To practice this pose with a specialist at CNY Healing Arts, check out our yoga class schedule for each location.

Getting Into Legs Up the Wall Pose:

Start by collecting the items your will need for this session, which ideally includes a yoga mat, yoga block, and two small towels. Lie on the floor near a wall and practice deep, steady breathing. Exhale and swing your legs up onto the wall so that your heels and sitting bones are supported against it. If you have any discomfort in your lower back, adjust your body slightly back from the wall so that your sitting bones are not touching it. Rest your head on the mat or floor, keeping your spine straight, and bend your knees a little so your kneecaps won’t lock.

When using support: If you have any lower back pain, support your body by placing a yoga block or folded blankets on the ground beneath your back. When positioning your support, you must consider its height and its distance from the wall. Be honest with yourself to avoid straining any muscles! If you are not very flexible, your support should be lower to the ground and farther from the wall. If you are flexible, keep your support higher and closer to the wall. Your sitting bones do not need to be against the wall, rather “dripping” down into the space between the wall and your support. Keep a gentle arc in your torso from the pubis to the top of the shoulders.

If your neck feels strained, place a small, rolled-up towel under it. Cover your eyes with the other towel and keep your them closed for 5 – 15 minutes as you soften and release. Rest your arms out to your sides. Open your shoulder blades away from the spine, relaxing your hands and wrists. Keep your legs held vertically in place, but only partially flexed.

Release the weight of your belly toward the back of the pelvis, deeply into the torso. Soften the eyes and turn them down towards your heart. After you come out of this restorative pose, be sure to lie on your side for a few breaths before sitting upright with your back against the wall, then slowly rising to your feet.

Benefits of Legs Up the Wall Pose:

  • Regulates blood flow
  • Alleviates menstrual cramps
  • Relieves swollen ankles and varicose veins
  • Helps testicular, semen, and ovarian problems in men and women respectively
  • Improves digestion
  • Restores tired feet or legs
  • Stretches the back of the neck, front torso, and back of the legs
  • Improves problems of the eyes and ears
  • Relieves mild backache
  • Provides migraine and headache relief, especially when done with a bandage wrapped tightly around the forehead and back of the skull
  • Helps keep you young and vital
  • Calms anxiety
  • Relieves symptoms of mild depression and insomnia
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